The 1 Year 50 Book Challenge
"Reading? I Do Enough of That In School!"
Do you remember reading requirements in elementary school? In my school, we had an AR program. AR stands for Accelerated Reader. The goal was to get children to read more, take quizzes on the books they read, and then reward them with prizes for their efforts. I also remember how I just took AR quizzes without reading the books because there weren't enough books I liked with available AR quizzes. When I did that, my teachers got upset with me. I didn't enjoy doing any extra reading outside of class for a really long time. I used spark notes for summaries, and I cheated by looking up information about books on other websites as well just to get through class sometimes. I should have known that it wouldn't pay off in the end however. Not reading often enough is likely part of the reason that I read more slowly these days, and that makes doing reading for class take a lot longer than I would like.
The older I got, however, the more I began to enjoy reading again. This started with the "Cirque du Freak" series by Darren Shan, which you can read about in my other article, The Saga of Darren Shan: The Cirque du Freak Series. I began reading these books in middle school and continued reading them as each new part of the series came out through both middle school and high school. Once I finished the series, I moved on to other books like the "Harry Potter" series and all of the books written by Ellen Hopkins. I found that I really loved books in the young adult genre as well as the non-fiction history genre.
Now that I am in college, I realize that I don't have much time for reading outside of class. When you have to read chapters upon chapters of deep and lengthy material each week for class there isn't much extra time to read the things you're interested in. After realizing that I wasn't getting enough read throughout the year, I decided that my New Year's Resolution would be to read 50 books in 1 year.
This year, 2013, I am attempting to accomplish this daunting task. At first it may not seem too horrible of a challenge. But when you add on top of that text-book reading, going to class, doing your homework, completing service hours, assistant directing a theatre production, and working on marketing and graphic design for a second theatre production, it starts to get hard. Then think about the fact that are 52 weeks in one year. If you want to read 50 books in one year, then you need to read one book a week for all but two weeks.
That's a lot to accomplish. I'm determined to see it through to the end though, and I've been able to get a good start. It also helps that I'm allowing myself to reread books from the past. However, I'm still trying to limit the number of books I complete that are rereads.
What's also important to me, and should be to all people, is reading a variety of books. I've laid out some books that I would like to read this year, and I don't know when I'll get to each, but I do know that they will give me a variety of genres and periods and other such criteria. Here are some of the kinds of books I've decided upon already:
The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien
A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
Fallout and Tilt by Ellen Hopkins
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (reread)
Fox Nation v. Reality by
The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
Confront and Conceal by David E. Sanger
Red Ink by David Meyer Wessel
And I will be reading books from other genres/categories as well throughout the year. I plan to read books that I do agree with, books that I may not agree with, books that are about real facts, and books that are completely fictional. I want to get a wide ranging experience from this challenge, and hopefully I will!
Now For the Important Question
Are you willing to challenge yourself this year? Do you think you can set a good number of books to read in one year and get through at least that many? 50 may be too many, but try even just 25. It's still a lot of work, especially because you probably have all kinds of other things to do, but it's truly worth it.
I highly recommend trying to get through some books this year outside of your other work, whether that be in school or in your job. When they started that AR program in schools, it was a good idea. I should have tried harder to read those books and do well on those quizzes, and I wish I had. I know now how important it is to keep reading, and I hope to inspire others to keep reading as well!